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Van Helsing - Preview



Preview by: Jack Foley

HUGH Jackman continues to be an actor who is very much in demand. Rumours continue to persist linking him to the James Bond role, once Pierce Brosnan trades in his licence to kill, and the X-Men franchise shows no sign of wearing thin.

But ever one to keep himself busy (he is currently appearing on Broadway as well), Jackman will also feature in one of this Summer’s potential blockbusters, which may also spawn its own franchise.

Van Helsing marks the latest film from The Mummy director, Stephen Sommers, and from its artwork and early promotional material alone, looks mightily impressive.

The film will revolve around the central character of vampire hunter, Dr Van Helsing – a character already made famous by Peter Cushing, in the classic Hammer films, and by Anthony Hopkins, in Francis Ford Coppola’s take on Bram Stoker’s Dracula – as he does battle with the fanged villain, as well as Frankenstein and the Wolf Man.

Ironically, it was originally mooted, in 1994, as a money spinning sequel to Dracula, with Hopkins in the title role. But it never saw the light of day.

Set in late Victorian Eastern Europe, the movie will also see the British actress, Kate Beckinsale, playing Anna, the daughter of a family committed to the pursuit of Dracula, teaming up with Van Helsing in the quest to rid the world of such creatures.

The film marks Universal’s big venture for 2004 and is rumoured to have cost $160 million. It was filmed in Prague and, needless to say, has Jackman very excited.

In an exclusive interview with Empire Online, he describes his character as ‘a younger and more adventurous swashbuckling version of Van Helsing’, who is ‘a mercenary for the Catholic Church’. Another article describes him as a hero in the Errol Flynn mode.

Apparently, Van Helsing will be introduced via a segment involving Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, before heading off to do battle with ‘an out of control’ Dracula in deepest, darkest Transylvania.

Jackman, no stranger to the physical demands of a blockbuster role, has said, however, that the stunts required for Van Helsing were among the most exhausting he has filmed.

Given the hype surrounding the film, which is due to open in May, there is even talk of a TV drama based around it, with NBC having already secured the rights.

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